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Frankoma Pottery's New Owner and New Visions

August 2008


Frankoma Pottery is an acquired taste. It's not "pretty" or elaborate, overall the pieces have clean lines and simple details. Art pottery collectors know Frankoma, but outside of the midwest not too many casual collectors know much of the company and it's rich history.

The past few years has seen several changes in the ownership of the company. It was in 1991 that the Frank family sold to H. Bernstein, who finally had to shut the doors in late 2004 while looking for a buyer. The Merrymans stepped up in 2005, purchasing the company with hopes of moving production of their Merrymac Dog lines to Oklahoma. Unfortunately that never happened and now they have sold the company to local collector Joe Ragosta.

Ragosta has been interested in the Frankoma Company since 2004 when it was first put up for sale. Ragosta tried to put in a bid at that time, but it wasn't meant to be. He said this actually turned out to be a good thing, as he feels now he is a better position to be an owner and operate the company. Over the past few years Ragosta has developed a good relationship with the Merrymans, so this newest change is going very smooth. In fact the Merrymans will stay on for two years to manage the company!

An enthusiastic Ragosta says bringing his strengths of factory management can only help the company. He plans to reduce waste, increase the product line, as well as modernizing the product line. Frankoma will definitely continue the series that the company has become known for over the years, e.g. the Political mugs, Christmas plates.

Ragosta would also like to expand Frankoma's market from regional to becoming well-known on a global basis.

There are lots of big plans for the immediate future which include remodeling the showroom, building a museum in the store and becoming the Northeastern Oklahoma Official Visitor Center for the highway department.

Whew - his work is cut out for the him!

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